It may be an important freight corridor for Queensland, but the notorious Peak Downs Highway has become an ongoing headache for many of the truck drivers who have to use it.
Now, a $35 million upgrade of a 14km section of the Peak Downs Highway between Wuthung Road and Caval Ridge is due to wrap up; with a $6 million strengthening and widening project and $5.5 million Wolfang Road intersection upgrade to follow. But will this be enough?
Local cattle farmer Rodney Clark said the upgrades were long overdue. He transports cattle from his property at Moranbah, just out of Eton to either Emerald or Rockhampton for sale.
He used to use the Peak Downs Highway but changed his route due to the poor road conditions. “Because of the state of the road, I stopped going that way. There are only two ways I can get to Rockhampton and both are bloody shocking,” he said.
“The trip there with cattle isn’t as bad, it’s worse when I’m coming back empty. Some of the bridges are really sketchy. If you meet another truck on the bridge, it can be pretty harrowing – but I can deal with that. The road is just really rough, especially along Clermont and Moranbah.”
On top of having to deal with the poor quality road, Clark said that impatient motorists often added to the risk too. “There’s nowhere to overtake between Moranbah and Nebo and sometimes people do some really dumb things, like overtaking in really silly spots. Once you get between Nebo and Mackay, there are overtaking lanes so it’s a much better road to travel, but you do still get silly people making stupid decisions,” he added.
The new upgrades will include widening just over three kilometres of road to nine metres, with one-metre shoulders, and the upgrading of two informal stopping bays.